Metabolic damage & reverse dieting [interview]

Juma Iraki interviewed Menno Henselmans about human metabolism, metabolic damage and reverse dieting.


Listen to the iTunes podcast version here.



  1. Zack says:

    Didnt u say you should never lose strenght by dieting and can build nearly the same amount of muscle mass as if u were in a surplus as long as youre not near contest prep or near your genetic muscular potential?

    In this podcast u said u will lose muscle mass when dieting if i understood it right-

    • I just gave the example of someone losing lean body mass here to simplify things for the purpose of metabolic adaptation, as indeed it is very possible to build muscle in a deficit, which can increase your metabolic rate. So it’s possible to increase your metabolism while losing fat. But it would be confusing to incorporate this information in this podcast.

  2. Rozco says:

    I just finished a dirty bulk and now I need to cut fat because I’m going to start a clean bulk.
    I understand its better to start around 12% bodyfat.

    What’s the best way to cut. Should I increase energy expenditure or gradually decrease calories? Or both.

    Wasnt sure about pros and cons of either method.

    I’m naturally lean. Need to lose about 12lbs.

  3. YF says:

    What a fantastic interview! Thanks Menno.

    A few questions please:

    First, if I recall correctly, you state (not verbatim) that after dieting there is no evidence for metabolic damage once the individual returns to their *original body composition*. This was confusing to me because the whole point of dieting is to enhance body composition, no? Thus, when the dieter returns to maintenance calories, one should hope that their body composition is NOT the same as before the diet began, but rather vastly improved! Can you please clarify?

    Second, you suggest that reverse dieting is unnecessary when resuming a lean bulk after a cut. But what if one is unsure what their ‘new’ maintenance calories should be? Wouldn’t slowly reverse dieting ensure that one is not ‘overshooting’ their calories and ending up with too large of a surplus (=> fat gain)?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • You don’t want to return to your original body composition, no. That’s just to illustrate the principle at work.

      As for your second question, it’s a matter of degree/semantics: when is it still a reverse diet? Of course you should increase calories and there’s an ideal rate with excess calories going to fat storage.

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